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Monastery becomes home for expectant mothers

The sisters moved out of the monastery in Springfield a few years ago, and now it will become a place for homeless pregnant women.

July 19, 2013|by Linda Russell, KY3 Reporter and Mike Coonrod, KY3 Photojournalist | lrussell@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- A former monastery for Catholic nuns is preparing for new life.  It will now become home to Life House Crisis Maternity Home, which has partnered with Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.

For more than forty years, it was a quiet place of prayer.  "They were here praying, praying for all of us in southern Missouri, and praying for peace throughout the world," says Maura Taylor, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.

The sisters of The Carmel of St. Anne left only for special needs like a visit to the doctor. But when their numbers dwindled, they moved out of the monastery.  "You can feel the tranquility.  You get calm, you get relaxed, and that's exactly what our residents are going to need, because they're going to come to us in crisis mode and very desperate and very scared," says Sharon Maples, founder of Life House Crisis Maternity Home.

Taylor says, "We had this wonderful opportunity that the building became available, and we knew there was a huge need for homeless pregnant women."

Now, the sisters' rooms will become home to up to 20 expectant mothers with nowhere else to go. 
"We're bigger than we ever thought we would be, and we share the same heart for the sanctity of life," says Maples.

Maples felt a calling to start Life House Crisis Maternity Home in 2009.  "At nineteen, I was pregnant, and the only resource for me was Planned Parenthood, and because of that, unfortunately, I chose abortion as my option.  And 20 years later, God put me back together again and laid this heavily on my heart.  He marched it before me, and I followed his footsteps," Maples says.

Now, with the support of Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, women will have plenty of space to live, and learn the skills they'll need for motherhood.  Maples says, "If I'd had a resource like this, I would have had a fifth child, so to know that we're offering support to women in crisis who are expecting babies, to know that we're going to help them have healthy babies, to know that we're going to help them with life skills and maternal skills and job skills;  It's just so humbling to be a part of."

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It's a place that will welcome all women, and is welcome news to the sisters who once called this home.
"They were just thrilled," says Taylor.  For them, the new life arriving at the old monastery is a fitting namesake.  "This is the Carmel of St. Anne, and in our faith tradition, St. Anne is the patron saint of women in labor," Taylor says.

Life House still has some more remodeling to do, and hopes to open its doors in September.  The non-profit organization is in need of donations and volunteers.  To contact Life House and Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, call (417)720-4213 from 8AM to 5PM Monday-Friday or visit http://www.ccsomo.org/

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